Show that you are familiar with the industry by eliminating any doubts about how your qualifications meet the needs of the employer. You can accomplish this in three ways:
- Use key terms and phrases common in your target industry.
- Highlight information that is most relevant to your target career.
- Incorporate within your résumé the specific qualifications mentioned in a position posting.
Make a Positive First Impression
Your overall résumé presentation says volumes about you. You have about 20–30 seconds to make a good first impression. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Would you seriously consider a person for a job whose résumé was printed on thin, cheap paper with smudgy printing, misspelled words, poor grammar and a general, throwaway objective? Doubtful.
Check It Once, Check It Twice
Do not put your complete trust in a computer’s spell check. It is always a good idea to have someone else look over your résumé. After you spend hours working on something, you may not catch spelling errors or questionable grammar, so let a career counselor or, at least, a friend double-check your work. Edit, edit, edit!
Components of a Résumé
List your name, address, city, state, zip code, area code and telephone number where you can be reached. Include your email address if you check it regularly.
State the position title that you are applying for or cite the field in which you want to work. Also, indicate what you have to offer the employer by using statements such as “… utilizing my leadership and organization skills.” Avoid generalities such as “challenging position with opportunity for growth and advancement.” Always tailor your objective for each position you seek.
Recent graduates should place education first as it is the primary qualifying factor for the position. List your most recent degree first and work backwards in time. It is not necessary to list high school education. List your degree and major, minor, name of school(s) attended (include city and state), month and year degree was (or will be) earned and your GPA, if 3.0 or above.
Relevant Course Work
If you do not have career-related work experience, it is a good idea to list the titles of some of the courses you have taken (or are currently taking) that are relevant for the position for which you are applying. This gives the employer an idea of some of your training and shows that you have knowledge in your specific area.
You may include internships, experiential learning, volunteer work, clinical rotations, practica and senior projects. This includes both paid and unpaid experience. Show what you have achieved and special contributions you have made. Make sure you define abilities rather than your duties, stress your accomplishments, cite dates and give a brief description using bullet statements that begin with strong action verbs.
State the name of the honor, award and/or scholarship, and the date received. Also include recognition you have received in athletics.
Involvements and Activities
This section may include on-campus and community involvements and activities. It may also include your memberships in professional organizations and/or military service. Be certain to make special mention of any offices you held or presentations performed that relate back to your career objective. Listing hobbies is optional.
List computer languages and software, research, laboratory, teaching or tutoring, communication, leadership and foreign language skills. If you are a computer science major, you may wish to have a separate section dedicated to computer skills, thereby drawing the employer’s attention to it.